Arkansas Politics

Dale Bumpers
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas has lost a political legend. Dale Leon Bumpers, a four-term U.S. Senator and two-term governor, has passed away at the age of 90 after a long illness, multiple sources have confirmed.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

About 600,000 Arkansas taxpayers are receiving an income tax cut with the start of the new year, a move that the state's Republican governor says will boost the economy but critics say threatens other state services.

The 1 percent income tax cut for those making between $21,000 and $75,000 approved by the majority-Republican Legislature last February took effect Friday.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who campaigned on the tax cut proposal, has cast it as a way to help the state's middle class and make Arkansas more competitive.

A group rally against the bill at the Capitol today.
Nathan Vandiver

A federal judge is holding a hearing this week on an effort to block Arkansas' new law placing limits on the way the abortion pill is administered. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker scheduled a hearing for Wednesday afternoon in the lawsuit by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

The group has asked for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the law, which requires abortion pill providers to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

2016 presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who is leading in recent Iowa polls, made his second trip to Arkansas Tuesday. The Texas senator campaigned at the Apostolic Church of North Little Rock.

Political scientist Hall Bass of Ouachita Baptist University said as is the case with with Cruz’s “noteworthy strides” nationally in recent weeks he is showing strength in Arkansas.

Bass said former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s decline into the single digits in national polling leaves the Arkansas vote open to Sen. Cruz and others.

File photo: Governor Asa Hutchinson in the Governor's Conference Room of the state Capitol.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued a memorandum ordering “mandatory compliance” from state agencies in an efficiency review to be conducted by a privately-funded policy foundation. 

Speaking to reporters Thursday before the announcement Hutchinson said the research group approached him about the efficiency review.

Governor Asa Hutchinson (left) and DHS Director John Selig presenting changes to Medicaid expansion in December.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas’s Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson is moving forward with Medicaid expansion and seeking federal approval for new adjustments to what has been known as the private option. The Health Care Task Force endorsed Hutchinson’s proposal Wednesday.

2016 presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will be campaigning in North Little Rock next week. It’s his second visit to Arkansas in recent months, and comes as the Senator from Texas has seen a surge in polling recently, even surpassing Donald Trump in Iowa.

Dr. Tamer Alsebai signing his name to a poster at a rally in support of Syrian refugees at the state Capitol.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Hundreds turned out on the state Capitol lawn Saturday afternoon to rally for and against the US taking Syrian refugees.

Arkansans in support of refugees easily outnumbered those against. Around 200 people signed their names to posters calling for compassion for war-ravaged Syrians. About 30 people stood 100 feet away, with signs that read “No Jihad in Dixie.”

Tamer Alsebai is a physician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he moved from Syria to the US in 1995. He flipped the conservative argument that accepting refugees is bowing to PC culture,

File photo: Former US Attorney Conner Eldridge formally launching his US Senate campaign.
Arkansas Times

UPDATE: Sen. Boozman responded to a KUAR request about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the US. In a statement Boozman rejected rhetoric attacking Islam and called for tighter security.

"Our country has never had a religious test for who we accept as citizens and it never should. Trump’s proposal is not a serious plan and it goes against everything our country and party stand for.

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley is making a visit to Arkansas. The former Maryland Governor is to speak at a Philander Smith College event Friday afternoon and later attend a fundraising event in Little Rock. Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus President Derrell Stephens says O’Malley will also attend his organization’s Christmas Gala Friday night.